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23-07-2011, 15:43   #1
magentas
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Signs of first heat?

My collie pup is exactly 6months old today and I have no experience of dealing with a bitch in heat and I'm nervous and terrified! Her mum was a rescue that we took in and she was pregnant when we got her at only 8months so that is the absolute last thing I want to happen.

Although I have no experience of it, I have done a fair bit of research but basically I just want your advice on what to look out for, warning signs, how best to prepare for it and how best to deal with it?

I have "the book of the bitch" which is helpful. I know she will have to be kept indoors for the 2weeks or however long it lasts and this is what I'm dreading, she's so active, needs to be out twice a day and just loves been involved in everything (we've 3collies so it's gonna be awful bringing out the other two and leaving her behind)

Also, do you think I could leave her outside in our garden? It's fully enclosed with a 6/7ft wall but I've heard dogs will do ANYTHING to get to a bitch in heat so would I be safer leaving her inside?

Sorry for all the questions! I'm really dreading it and I know there's at least 2 dogs in our estate that aren't neutered and are let out unsupervised (my own fella is a year and not neutered but he'll be staying with other family while she's in heat)

I will be getting her spayed between her 1st and 2nd heat, I just think getting her done before 6mths is too early as there's so much development going on.

So any advice, ideas and helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated
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23-07-2011, 16:00   #2
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I've no experience of female dogs as I have a male, but I had a stray Lab jump my 6 foot wall once, so I don't think it's safe to let her out alone...
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23-07-2011, 16:11   #3
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I've no experience of female dogs as I have a male, but I had a stray Lab jump my 6 foot wall once, so I don't think it's safe to let her out alone...
Yeah I've heard some pretty incredible stories about the lenghts they'll go to, I think I read on here before that a dog went through a door or something!
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23-07-2011, 16:17   #4
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Hi magentas,

My dog went into heat when she was 18 weeks old . All the general signs where there, she was pretty shall we say 'difficult' anyway but there was still a noticeable difference. She was even more restless than usual, drinking a lot more water and needing out to the toilet constantly. She was also constantly cleaning herself and became very clingy. The only thing that was putting me off was her age and people were laughing me out of it . I took her in to the vet, and when I rang for the appointment the receptionist was also quite dismissive about it insisting that it couldn't possibly be the case that she was in heat. The vet thankfully was more tactful about it and she was actually confirmed to be in heat.

I suppose the point is that in this case it really was very obvious. I'm not sure if it's always the case, but I think if you know your dog well enough you should be able to spot it no problem.
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23-07-2011, 17:42   #5
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18weeks? wow! thanks a mill AJ, I know her inside out in fairness, I watched her been born in my utility room and spend every spare minute with them! I'm just nervous and suppose I'm just looking for reassurance.

It may sound silly but once she starts showing signs of coming in heat, how long until she is actually fertile? Basically, if the first heat happens anywhere between 18wks and over a yr old, how will I know when to seperate her from the male dog? I mean, is it possible that there would be no signs and then I could come home from work one day and it's too late?
I feel stupid asking but just want to be on the safe side
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23-07-2011, 18:33   #6
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If I remember correctly it's around day 7-10 that they become fertile, usually this is when the spotting stops and people get caught out because they think it's over when really this is the part you need to be extra careful.

18 weeks was pretty extreme tbh, the vet said she'd never seen anything like it and was most likely an underlying hormonal issue which explained a lot of the 'normal' day to day problems. There wasn't really any point testing for anything like that though as she was going to be spayed anyway which would have been the best cure for any hormone issues anyway, she'd have been more prone to the usual cancers as well because of it but hopefully it's been avoided completely by her having a full hysterectomy.

Anyway this thread's about your dog, not mine so I'll shut up now!
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23-07-2011, 18:48   #7
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Females can have silent heats. And heats that are subtle. The only way you know she's in heat is when a litter of pups lands on the floor in 9wks time.
I don't know what the figures are, but I'd think that a huge number of unwanted litters stem from situations just like yours. I would strongly urge you to spay her asap. Whilst there is some evidence that male dogs, especially larger breeds, develop better if left intact a bit longer, I don't know of any evidence that the same is true of females.
She will be in heat for about 21 days. Many females will accept the dog from the point of ovulation at about Day 11, but a good rule of thumb is to consider her fertile for the entire 3 weeks! Take no chances.
Your fence is not high enough to keep dogs out. Don't let her out alone for the whole 3 wks. It'd all be so much easier for you, her, and your other dogs, to spat her before she comes in heat.
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23-07-2011, 18:52   #8
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The main sign of the heat will be the bleeding. You will notice drops of bllod around the place and i count the first sign of bleeding as the first day of the season.

My female is on her second heat at the moment. You will also notice her vulva getting swollen too.
Some dogs can become a little quieter, bit nervous, skittish etc.
My female doesnt really be out of sorts with her seasons so far.

The heat will last 3 weeks. The 2nd week is the most crucial and most dangerous time for them and is the highest risk of them getting pregnant if they are mated.

My female was day 13 before my male got really interested and shes on day 22 now and my male is STILL interested so its a bit of a nightmare...
I wouldnt leave her alone at all iny uor garden, its not worth the risk at all.
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23-07-2011, 19:19   #9
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DBB as I said I won't be getting her spayed until after her first heat. You can start a new thread or add to the numerous existing threads regarding when to spay if you like but I specifically stated I'm waiting until between the 1st and 2nd for developmental reasons.
Also, I can't believe that the ONLY way you know she's in heat is after she's had a litter of pups, that's a rediculous statement IMO.

Andrea Thanks, I will keep my eyes peeled for bleeding and any kind of spotting.
I'm dreading it but will have to keep her under lock and key until I'm certain she's in the clear. How do you manage to occupy your bitch when you can't bring her out? I'm thinking of doing plenty of training and stuff to keep her mentally stimulated and practice her recall with my OH upstairs and me at far end of house downstairs!
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23-07-2011, 19:25   #10
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Also, I can't believe that the ONLY way you know she's in heat is after she's had a litter of pups, that's a rediculous statement IMO.

How do you manage to occupy your bitch when you can't bring her out? I'm thinking of doing plenty of training and stuff to keep her mentally stimulated and practice her recall with my OH upstairs and me at far end of house downstairs!
Magentas, unfortunately its not a ridiculous statement about not knowing they were in heat. They can have silent heats and you dont know at all, thats why its very necessary to be very careful with any intact males around her if she is due to come into season.

These type of seasons arent that common but can happen.

Regarding walking her etc, i still walk my bitch. Im lucky that i can bring my dogs to work so they get exercise there as well as their normal walks as well, but i dont take her out as much in public locally when shes in season.
Shes a very placid laid back dog anyway so she is happy to just chill out and isnt that bothered about missing a few walks. The joys of rotties :-))
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24-07-2011, 03:27   #11
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DBB as I said I won't be getting her spayed until after her first heat. You can start a new thread or add to the numerous existing threads regarding when to spay if you like but I specifically stated I'm waiting until between the 1st and 2nd for developmental reasons
It's ok, I don't need to start a new thread regarding when to spay, thanks. I simply stated that there is no evidence to suggest that leaving a female until after her first heat has any effect on her development. In dogs,yes, in females, no. That's all. My suggestion being that if this is the only reason you want to delay spaying her, it's not based on scientific evidence.
The only argument against early spaying that I know of, and for which there is some evidence, is that if a female shows signs of aggression at an early age, this aggression may worsen after spaying.


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Also, I can't believe that the ONLY way you know she's in heat is after she's had a litter of pups, that's a rediculous statement IMO.
Err, if you read the context of my post, it's that you won't know that a female has been in heat until she drops a litter of pups, when she's had a silent or subtle heat. The owner doesn't know the female is in heat, and doesn't know she's been mated. I'd hate for anyone reading this to think that such a statment is "ridiculous", because it's anything but, and many an unwary owner, even reputable breeders, have been caught out.
It might be "ridiculous" if the owner knew the dog was in heat because their female showed the common signs, but I made reference only to silent and subtle heats, which you'll see if you read my post again.
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24-07-2011, 11:31   #12
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OK DBB sorry if I sounded blunt, I understand what you're saying about silent heats, I hadn't come across it in my research so thanks for the input and I'll look into it. Anyone I've spoken to talks about how awful heats are, the stress involved for dog and owner, the confinement, issolation and how hard it is to stimulate them for the duration of a heat, the bleeding, how clingy they get and the stress on intact males in the neighbourhood that would be howling at our door and trying to get in to her.

If you're telling me that sometimes none of these signs happen and there's a possibility I won't know until there's a litter of pups then you have really scared me!

So I apologise for that part but I won't be getting her spayed until after the first heat as I know a lot of people are starting to question the idea of getting them done so early when they are at such an early stage of their lives, it's a very invasive operation at such a young age. When she's not fully developed for another year, I don't think it's right to go messing around with things (for want of a better word!) at this age. I have spoken to my vet about this and several other people that have agreed opinions on this issue are changing.

But like I said, that's an issue for another thread.

Andrea I was of the belief that bringing a bitch in heat out in public was a big no-no? I know people in our local park were fuming when someone was walking their bitch one evening and it sent some of the dogs absolutely beserk!

Lucky your rottie is so easy-going, my little lady is a pure mentaller!!!
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24-07-2011, 16:24   #13
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I dont mean to bring her to an area where there are other dogs, i mean you could walk her somewhere if you know there arent many or anyone out walking with their dogs.

Im lucky i can walk them at work where theres no public. I can also walk roads around here where there are no houses or dogs so its safe but i def wouldnt be bringing her to the park, beach etc where you know you will meet other dogs.
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24-07-2011, 21:19   #14
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Yup that makes sense! There's now here near me that's dog-free TBH! I'm sure I could find somewhere if I took a spin out the countryside maybe and find somewhere very isolated but I'd still be nervous.

Thanks for all the advice, the most important thing for me is noticing the signs that she's coming in heat and getting my own fella away from her. I know the situation is far from ideal so I'm trying to prepare for it as best I can.

Thanks everyone for all the help
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